News17-year-old Ukrainian flees 1000 kilometers to Poland – and...

17-year-old Ukrainian flees 1000 kilometers to Poland – and also saves the life of cat Zaika

Millions of Ukrainians, including many minors, are currently fleeing their homeland – and are also saving their four-legged friends from war.

Kyiv/Warsaw – Since the start of the Ukraine crisis*, more than two million people have crossed the 535-kilometer border between Ukraine and neighboring Poland and found shelter in improvised reception centers. This was reported by the Polish border guard on Friday (March 18, 2021) via the short message service Twitter. In addition to a few personal souvenirs of life before the war, saving their pets was a priority for many of the refugees from Ukraine*.

This was also the case for 17-year-old Yana Zelieva, who met a film team from the RTL television station in the reception center in the small town of Hrebenne in eastern Poland. The young woman fled the Ukrainian capital Kyiv with her mother and was also able to bring the cat Zaika to safety: “I believe that he is one of the reasons for my life,” she tells the film team in a video.

Zahlreiche Menschen, die die Ukraine verlassen, versuchen auch ihren Haustieren das Leben zu retten. (Symbolfoto)


Many people leaving Ukraine are also trying to save the lives of their pets. (symbol photo)

Reception centers on the Polish border: millions of people are fleeing the Ukraine war

Then the teenager reports in detail about the days of her escape: “It was 6 a.m. when my mother called that the war had started,” she tells the camera. Then she packed Zaika in a bag and took refuge in an air raid shelter. From there, her mother and she then set off in the direction of the Carpathian Mountains in western Ukraine. A few days later they went across the Polish border, where they picked up friends who wanted to give them shelter in Poland.

There are many people like Yana Zelieva who do not want to leave their beloved four-legged friends behind in their war-threatening and destroyed homeland in the reception centers along the Polish border. In addition to Hrebenne, where the 17-year-old and her mother have arrived, there are also reception camps for refugees in Dorohusk, Dolhobyczow, Zosin in the east and in Korczowa, Medyka, Budomierz, Kroscienko and Przemysl in south-eastern Poland. Many of the people who arrive here plan to travel further west from Poland. Many of them want to stay with relatives in other EU countries.

War in Ukraine: A total of 3.1 million Ukrainians have fled

The total number of people fleeing the Russian invasion of Ukraine exceeded 3.1 million people on Thursday (March 17, 2022), according to the refugee agency UNHCR. Among them are around 162,000 third-country nationals who live in Ukraine. The United Nations also counted around two million internally displaced persons who are still holding out in Ukraine. (ska with AFP) * is an offer from IPPEN.MEDIA

Headline list image: © Daniel Leal / AFP

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